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Battle for the midlands DS

Battle for the Midlands

Who will be the Midlands mayors?

With just 99 days to go until local election polling day on 2nd May, the countdown has well and truly begun in what promises to be a pivotal day for the two major parties across the Midlands. With two mayoralties being contested, who will speak for the East and West Midlands in just a few months’ time?

West Midlands Mayoralty

Incumbent Conservative Mayor, Andy Street, will attempt to secure a third term as West Midlands Mayor.

Street defied the odds to win the Mayoralty in 2017 in a pitch based on business competence from his time as John Lewis CEO. Having beaten two Labour Party candidates from political backgrounds (Sion Simon, 2017 – former MP/MEP, and Liam Byrne, 2021, current MP), have taken a different approach by selecting former PwC consultant, Richard Parker, as their challenger for 2024.

2nd May will be the most challenging election for Street yet with the difficult national backdrop of an unpopular Conservative Government and even less popular Prime Minister. Having spent his first two terms crafting a distinct brand separate to the Conservative Party, his team will be hoping they have done enough to ride out the storm.

East Midlands Mayoralty

For the first time, the East Midlands will elect a Regional Mayor to lead the newly formed East Midlands Combined County Authority, spanning the electoral areas of Nottinghamshire County, Nottingham City, Derbyshire County and Derbyshire City.

Both major parties have selected their candidates in what is expected to be a two-horse race between the Conservatives and Labour.

The Conservatives have selected well-known local politician Ben Bradley as their candidate – Bradley leads Nottingham County Council and represents Mansfield in Parliament. Using his local leadership experience, Bradley will focus on a track record of Conservative Government investment in the region and ‘getting on’ with key, long term infrastructure projects as his pitch.

Labour have selected former Watford MP and Government Minister in the Blair Government, Claire Ward as their candidate. With experience spanning Parliament, local government, the NHS and trade unions, early indications suggest her pitch will focus more on living standards, working conditions and affordable homes.

What to Expect

The regional mayoral model lends itself to a presidential style of campaigning, separating the candidate from the party. This inevitably makes it harder to predict electoral outcomes as voters cast their votes less on tribal party affiliation and more on the candidates in front of them.

At this point, both the East and West Midlands mayoralties are too close to call. But with a General Election expected later in the year, both elections will be seen as an indication of what is to come for both Labour and the Conservatives nationally.

How will the Mayoral Elections affect your Plans?

If you would like to discuss how the Mayoral (or local government) elections could affect your development plans across the Midlands, don't hesitate to contact Dominic Stanford and Jack Boyce in the DevComms Midlands office.

By Dominic Stanford

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